Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

Top Ten Tuesday meme hosted by Broke and Bookish

Bookish pet peeves? Yeah, I have a few.

1. An Endless Array of New and Diverse Characters: Please, authors, introduce your characters towards the beginning of the story and then leave it at that. Too many new introductions throughout the book from start to finish is overwhelming. Justin Cronin, I'm looking at you.

2. Dithering Spineless Characters: Okay, so I have a specific one in mind here just because I'd never come across one quite so irritating in an otherwise fabulous story. W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage took almost the entire book for the main character, Philip, to grow a pair and get on with his life. The same goes for Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment.

3. Thick Books: I like a big beefy book, but anything more than, say, 700 pages gives me heartburn. If it takes an author that long to tell a story, then please just divide it up into two smaller books.

4. Thin Books: If it's less than 100 pages, then just go ahead and publish it in a collection of short stories. Otherwise I feel like I'm reading a pamphlet.

5. Sad Endings: I'm just going to come right out and say this: I like happy, hopeful, endings. And it doesn't even have to be *happy*, just, at least, hopeful. Cold Mountain comes to mind. After all he went through, he *spoiler* dies? Wait, what? So he leaves behind a pregnant wife, big deal. I want them all to live happily ever after on the mountain with a thriving farm and lots of children! Ugh, I think I may have even thrown the book across the room when I came to the end.

6. Bow-Tie Endings: Okay, so on the flip side of #5 is the ending that is so tidy I feel like tying a ribbon around the book and adding a cherry on top. The Thirteenth Tale, I'm looking at you. I loved the book, but the ending was just a little too perfect.

7. Silly Titles: The Something Something Something and Potato Peel Pie Society? I don't know, it might be a good book, but the title is just plain goofy. Kiss The Sunset Pig is another one.

8. Hip Character Names/ Silly Character Names: Some of the current fiction that's out there is so intent on being edgy and hip -Jodie Picoult, I'm looking at you- that if I see one more 'Theo' or 'Zoe' I'm going to scream. And the silly character name award goes to Charles Dickens. That's half the reason I have not read any Dickens to completion. That, and #3.

9. Endless Descriptions: This could apply to characters or history or scenery or whatever. Just give us the need-to-know information and then get on with the story.

10. Dream Sequences: I don't read dream sequences, period. Authors, please leave them out of your books completely.

Phew. Well that rant felt good. Thanks Broke and the Bookish for providing such a therapeutic theme to your Top Ten Tuesday.


Anonymous said...

Hahaha I loved reading your post, it made me laugh! I agree on the spineless dithering characters (what a great way of putting it!) and I also don't like thick books (heartburn! lol).

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Ha! I love that you tell it like it is. Great post! I so agree about the endless array of characters. I also don't like when the characters are introduced all at once and it takes me the entire book to figure out who is who.

I laughed out loud about your comment on silly titles. I read the book you are talking about...the Potato Peel Society (for short) and to be fair it isn't really a silly title... it sounds silly but...it's just hard to explain.

But along those lines... I don't like books with super long titles that I have to look up every time I want to tell somebody about it because I don't want to mess up the small paragraph of a name.

oreneta said...

10...right there with you.

9? Don't read Moby Dick. Ever.

Trish said...

booknympho - I'm always amazed that the authors don't get sick of their own characters. Some of them can be so annoying!

alexis - yes, maybe it's the length of the title more than its baffling meaning that bugs me. EIther way, I don't think it does a book any good to have a title that's tricky to repeat.

oreneta - yeah, I've heard that about Moby Dick.

DJL said...

I couldn't agree with you more on your list. There are so many I agree with particularly 1, 3, 4, and 7. It's one thing to have a few character introductions throughout the first half of the book, but if you're meeting a new person (or two) in each chapter, it's kind of nutters. Not to mention hard to keep track of everyone.

And what is with silly or long, long, LONG titles? Don't authors want something that is memorable? Usually memorable means it's easy to remember the title, so why make it harder to remember?

Very great list, and thank you for visiting. :D Happy reading!

Anonymous said...

I hate sad endings. I haven't read Cold Mountain, but I started watching the movie wit my mom awhile back. As soon as she mentioned that I should be prepared for a sad ending, I made her turn it off. I don't read books so that I cry my eyes out. For me it's about escaping, and sad endings are, to use a popular phrase, total downers. :p

Trish said...

DJL - yes, so true. I sometimes wonder about authors and what they were thinking. Perhaps they were trying to practice some reverse psychology?

couchpotatocritic - I couldn't watch the movie either. I don't mind a heavy story, it's the unnecessary kill-off that bugs me.

Bibliophile said...

Great list.

Your no. 1 - absolutely agree - unless it's somehting epic and multi-generational.

No. 5 - I prefer endings to be good or ambiguous to endings that are just sad/bad, unless they are about characters I couldn't really care less about, in which case I say 'bring it on!'

No. 6 - My Sister's Keeper by Jody Picault is a perfect example of this. First you get a deus ex machina ending and then you get an additional f*ing bow-tie ending in an epilogue. Be glad you didn't finish it.

No. 7 - silly titles bother me too, but the books sometimes turn out to be okay.

P.S. I'm posting more of my bookish dislikes tomorrow, because once I got started on the list, I couldn't stop...

The Book Nook said...

I am totally in agreement with you over the endless descriptions. They usually tie in with ridiculously long chapters, too.

Anonymous said...

Very entertaining list to read through. I appluad the 'call-out' of Justin Cronin in your #1; I disliked that about The Passage.

#7 is good too. And the 'blah blah blah Potato Peel Pie Society' would have to be the poster child for this.

on #9 you forgot to say "I'm looking at you, Henry James!" :-)


Trish said...

bibliophile - oh good, well I'll be over to check out your extra rants lol. I have a few more I'd like to get off my chest too . . .

book nook - yes that's so true.

bibliophilica - ha! yes, Henry James. I have Turn of The Screw waiting for me on my tbr shelf. Hopefully that's not one of his wordier ones?

Laura said...

Hehehe, I love that you hate fat books and thin books- you want one that's juuust right! I will now always think of you as goldilocks :).

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Excellent list. Silly character names. Could you really call someone some of these names to their face?!

New follower!

Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) said...

Dreams in books can get confusing at times, I agree! Great list!

Trish said...

laura - ha! yes, goldilocks it is. A book that's juuust right should be between 200 - 400 pages. I can tolerate another few hundred pages if a book is really good, but after that, all bets are off.

deb - yeah, these names that are supposed to be 'funny' are so unrealistic it just takes away from the believability of the story.

jacinda - dreams in books totally throw me off and do nothing to move the story ahead.

Red said...

I don't like the endless descriptions either. I feel like the author was being paid by the pound at that point. Which I guess in some cases they were.

Demitria said...

I have to disagree with the happy ending...I love a good hopeless feeling after I've read a book :) Can't stand endless descriptions either.


trailsofthepen said...

Thanks for sharing your list. One Charles Dickens book that I liked is "A Tale of Two Cities" and I have to checkout some others. Opps.

Goodness, a 700-page book? I'd practically leave that behind.

Trish said...

red - I think in Dicken's time they were. With some of the chunky books out now I'm wondering if they haven't started up that practice again-ugh-

demetria -yes, it really depends on the book.

trailsofthepen - anything more than 500 pages better be pretty darn good for me to consider it. There are a few out there - Pillars of the Earth comes to mind.

Story said...

I totally agree with #6 Bow-Tie Endings. I felt the exact same way about The Thirteenth Tale. Margaret's twin narrative did not fit well with me near as well as Vida Winter's either. I would have given, this novel 5 stars if Margaret's twin's "visit" at the end would not have seemed so forced.

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